Induced abortions previous to IVF: an epidemiologic register-based study from Finland

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

The purpose of this study was to identify how many women treated for infertility had an abortion history, as well as when those abortions were carried out, and for what reasons.

METHODS

Data on all women treated in Finland from 1996–1998 for infertility either with IVF (n=9175) or ovulation induction (OI, n=10 254) and the age-matched controls of IVF women were linked to the Abortion and Hospital Discharge Registers for the period 1969–2000.

RESULTS

A notable proportion of IVF women (12%) and OI women (11%) had previous induced abortion(s). Practically all abortions were for social or age reasons. Most IVF women (72% of n=1099) had their most recent abortion more than 10 years previous to fertility treatment, but more recently among OI women (45% of n=1123 of the most recent abortions were in the preceding 10 years). Many IVF- and OI women were young and single at the time of the most recent abortion. At the time of IVF treatment most women were aged over 30 and married; OI women were also frequently married, but 42% of them were aged younger than 30.

CONCLUSIONS

At different points in their life, women may rely on opposite fertility regulation strategies. Health care professionals providing IVF need to consider the possibility of a previous abortion. Young women need information on the possibility of future infertility in later age.

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